Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Post#143 Living the high life, Korean-style
Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il’s personal shopper has written a book. No, that’s not a mistake; you read correctly; the North Korean dictators had a personal shopper. His name is Kim Jong Ryul, a former colonel in the Korean army, now seventy-five years old and living in Austria. His book- so far only available in German – is called Im Dienst des Diktators (At the Dictators Service).
In this he tells of the two decades he spent coming to the west on spending sprees, buying such essentials of the dictatorial life as gold-plated handguns and silk wallpaper. There were also the luxury cars- of course –, metal detectors, hunting rifles, crystal chandeliers and monitors capable of detecting the heart beats of people hiding behind walls! Well, one clearly needs to know if there is anyone there, any potential assassin, anyone who wants a glimpse of a fantastic and forbidden world.
Then there was the food. Kim and Kim liked takeaways, as in takeaway everything, and for some reason they both had a particular fondness for Austrian cuisine. Kim Il-sung went so far as to send a team of cooks to Austria to learn the art behind Wiener schnitzels and the like- “The crazy dictators heard rumours that Austrian cuisine was world-famous and that’s why they wanted the foreign cooks to come here.” All this while ordinary Koreans, the citizens of the termite state, those who did not live in the palaces, often had to live on tree bark to survive periodic mass famines.
Kim Jong Ryul eventually had enough of this farce, taking the decision not to return home in 1994, having faked his death on a final shopping trip. In a press conference he said;
I wanted the truth to come to light before I die so people know how horrendous and brutal it is, as well as to highlight how western companies have – for years – been making money through their dealings with the dictatorship, and helping to support the regime and that these dealings, despite all the embargos that are in place, are still in full swing today.
Well, it has. :-)